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Calendar No. 643
110th Congress Report
2d Session 110-291
ACADIA NATIONAL PARK IMPROVEMENT ACT
April 10, 2008.--Ordered to be printed
Mr. Bingaman, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources,
submitted the following
R E P O R T
[To accompany S. 1329]
The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was
referred the bill (S. 1329) to extend the Acadia National Park
Advisory Commission, to provide improved visitor services at
the park, and for other purposes, having considered the same,
reports favorably thereon with amendments and recommends that
the bill, as amended, do pass.
The amendments are as follows:
1. On page 1, line 5, strike ``2007'' and insert ``2008''.
2. On page 2, line 24, strike ``shall'' and insert ``may''.
3. On page 3, line 8, strike ``and cooperative agreements''
and insert ``and, notwithstanding chapter 63 of title 31,
United States Code, cooperative agreements.''.
4. On page 3, line 16, strike ``system'' and insert
``system (or any successor transit system)''.
The purposes of S. 1329 are to increase the authorization
ceiling for land acquisition at Acadia National Park; to extend
the term of the Acadia National Park Advisory Commission; and
to provide for improved visitor services at the park.
Background and Need
Acadia National Park encompasses over 47,000 acres on Mount
Desert Island in Maine and includes granite-domed mountains,
woodlands, lakes and ponds, and dramatic ocean shoreline. In
1986, the park's boundary was formally established by Public
Law 99-420. S. 1329 contains four provisions extending its land
conveyance authority, extending the park's advisory commission,
increasing the land acquisition ceiling, and authorizing the
Secretary to participate in planning, construction and
operation of an intermodal transportation center to improve the
visitor enjoyment of the park.
Public Law 99-420 also established a process through which
the park and nearby towns could convey lands to one another so
that lands owned by towns within the park boundary could be
transferred to the National Park Service and small parcels of
Federal land outside of the park boundary could be transferred
to adjacent towns. However, the law contained a ten-year sunset
of this authority. S. 1329 eliminates the ten-year limitation.
Public Law 99-420 also established a 16-member advisory
commission to advise the Secretary of the Interior on matters
relating to the management and development of Acadia National
Park, including the acquisition of lands and interests in lands
(including conservation easements on islands), and termination
of rights-of-use and occupancy. The advisory commission plays
an important role advising the park and serving as a liaison
between the park and the local community that still resides in
the park. The authority for the Commission terminated on
September 25, 2006. S. 1329 extends the Commission's authority
for an additional twenty years.
S. 1329 also increases Acadia National Park's land
acquisition ceiling by $10 million, to $28 million. There are
still many tracts of private land within Acadia's authorized
boundary that can be developed in ways incompatible with the
purposes of the park. Congress established the official
boundary in 1986. The National Park Service was directed to buy
properties within the boundary from willing sellers to complete
the park; however, due to escalating real estate prices on
Mount Desert Island, the park is now limited in its ability to
protect additional lands. Increasing the land acquisition
ceiling will address this problem.
Finally, S. 1329 authorizes the Secretary of the Interior
to participate in the planning, construction and operation of
an intermodal transportation center that would be located
outside of park boundaries that is needed to reduce traffic
congestion as well as preserve park resources and the visitor
experience. The proposed center would be located in Trenton,
S. 1329 was introduced by Senators Collins and Snowe on May
8, 2007. The Subcommittee on National Parks held a hearing on
the bill on September 11, 2007. (S. Hrg. 110-213) During the
109th Congress, the Committee considered a similar bill, S.
1154. S. 1154 was ordered reported by the Committee on
September 28, 2005 (S. Rpt. 109-151) and it passed the Senate
by unanimous consent on November 16, 2005.
At its business meeting on January 30, 2008, the Committee
on Energy and Natural Resources ordered S. 1329 favorably
reported, with amendments.
The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in open
business session on January 30, 2008, by a voice vote of a
quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass S. 1329, if
amended as described herein.
During the consideration of S. 1329 the Committee adopted
three amendments related to the Intermodal Transportation
Center near the park. The amendments clarify that the
Secretary's authority to provide assistance for the center is
discretionary, not mandatory, and make other clarifying and
conforming amendments. A fourth amendment updates the short
title of the bill.
Section 1 contains the short title, the ``Acadia National
Park Improvement Act of 2008''.
Section 2 amends section 102(d) of Public Law 99-420 (16
U.S.C. 341) to eliminate a deadline by which towns owning lands
within the park boundary could convey those lands to the park
or receive parcels of Federal land outside the park boundary.
Section 3 amends section 103(f) of Public Law 99-420 to
extend the authorization of the Acadia National Park Advisory
Commission by an additional 20 years.
Section 4 amends section 106(a) of Public Law 99-420 to
increase the park's authorization for land acquisition from
$9.1 million to $28 million.
Section 5 adds a new section 108 to Public Law 99-420 to
authorize the Secretary of the Interior to assist with the
planning, construction, and operation of an intermodal
transportation center outside the park's boundaries. New
Section 108(b) as added by Section 5 authorizes the Secretary
to enter into interagency agreements with other Federal, State
and local agencies, and nonprofit organizations to provide
exhibits, interpretive services, and technical assistance;
disseminate information relating to the park and Island
Explorer transit system; provide financial assistance for the
construction of the transportation center; and assist with the
operation and maintenance of the transportation center.
Finally, new section 108(c) as added by section 5 authorizes
appropriations to carry out section 108.
Cost and Budgetary Considerations
The following estimate of costs of this measure has been
provided by the Congressional Budget Office:
S. 1329--Acadia National Park Improvement Act of 2007
Summary: S. 1329 would amend existing laws that govern the
authority of the National Park Service (NPS) to operate the
Acadia National Park in Maine. Assuming appropriation of the
necessary amounts, CBO estimates that implementing this bill
would cost $14 million over the 2009-2013 period. Enacting S.
1329 would have no effect on revenues or direct spending.
The bill contains no intergovernmental or private-sector
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA)
and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal
Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated
budgetary impact of S. 1329 is shown in the following table.
The costs of this legislation fall within budget function 300
(natural resources and environment).
By fiscal year, in millions of
2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATlON
Estimated Authorization Level... 3 3 3 3 2
Estimated Outlays............... 3 3 3 3 2
Basis of estimate: For the estimate, CBO assumes that S.
1329 will be enacted before the start of 2009. We assume that
the entire amounts authorized or estimated to be necessary will
be appropriated for each fiscal year. Estimated outlays are
based on historical patterns for similar NPS acquisition and
S. 1329 would increase the statutory ceiling for land
acquisition costs at Acadia from $9.1 million to $28 million.
Because $18 million has already been appropriated and spent for
this purpose, the proposed increase represents a change of $10
million. CBO estimates that this amount would be spent over a
five-year period (2009 through 2013) to purchase up to 100
tracts of land within the park's existing boundaries.
The bill also would authorize the NPS to participate in
designing, building, and operating a transportation center
located outside of park boundaries. Based on information
provided by the agency, CBO expects that most of the cost of
constructing the center would be borne by the Department of
Transportation under existing authority. We estimate that the
NPS would spend about $4 million over the 2009-2012 period to
furnish a small visitor facility within the center and develop
appropriate exhibits and other interpretive materials. We
estimate that new annual costs to help operate the center would
be less than $500,000 annually.
Finally, S. 1329 would extend the life of the Acadia
National Park Advisory Committee for an additional 20 years.
Authority for the commission expired near the end of fiscal
year 2006. CBO estimates that the cost of operating the
commission would be less than $50,000 a year.
Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: S. 1329
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as
defined in UMRA and would impose no costs on state, local, or
Estimate prepared by: Federal Costs: Mark Grabowicz; Impact
on State, Local, and Tribal Governments: Melissa Merrell;
Impact on the Private Sector: MarDestinee C. Perez.
Estimate approved by: Peter H. Fontaine, Assistant Director
for Budget Analysis.
Regulatory Impact Evaluation
In compliance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee makes the following
evaluation of the regulatory impact which would be incurred in
carrying out S. 1329. The bill is not a regulatory measure in
the sense of imposing Government-established standards or
significant economic responsibilities on private individuals
No personal information would be collected in administering
the program. Therefore, there would be no impact on personal
Little, if any, additional paperwork would result from the
enactment of S. 1329, as ordered reported.
Congressionally Directed Spending
In accordance with paragraph 4(b) of rule XLIV of the
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides the
following identification of congressionally directed spending
items contained in the bill, as reported:
Section: 4; Provision: $28 million; Members: Senators
Collins and Snowe.
Statement of Daniel N. Wenk, Deputy Director, National Park Service,
Department of the Interior
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to appear
before your committee to present the views of the Department of
the Interior on S. 1329, a bill to extend the Acadia National
Park Advisory Commission, to provide improved visitor services
at the park, and for other purposes. The Department supports
enactment of this bill with two technical amendments.
If enacted, S. 1329 would accomplish four objectives.
First, it would extend the life of the 16-member Acadia
National Park Advisory Commission, which expired in September
2006, for an additional 20 years. Second, the bill would extend
the authority of the Secretary to exchange land with local
towns in order to allow both parties to consolidate land
holdings within their borders. Third, the bill would increase
the park's land acquisition ceiling from $9.1 million to $28
million. Fourth, it would authorize Acadia National Park to
participate in the planning, construction, and operation of an
intermodal transportation center outside the park's boundaries.
acadia national park advisory commission
The Acadia National Park Advisory Commission had been in
operation for almost 20 years, before it expired on September
30, 2006, and was a valuable asset that enhanced communication
between park managers and local communities. The Commission's
state and local representatives participated actively, and they
strongly support its reauthorization. The cost of administering
the Commission is minimal and is covered by the park's
extension of land conveyance authority
Before 1986, Acadia National Park did not have a well-
defined boundary. The boundary established in 1986 by Public
Law 99-420 included certain lands owned by local towns and
excluded certain lands owned by the National Park Service. In
order to allow the park and the towns to consolidate holdings
within their respective boundaries, section 102(d)(2) gave the
Secretary the authority to convey lands outside the park
boundary to the towns for no consideration after the towns had
conveyed all of their land within the park boundary to the
park. This provision set a 10-year deadline for these
conveyances in order to encourage timely action.
Several towns missed the 10-year deadline, but are still
interested in exchanging lands with the National Park Service.
This bill would extend the authority of the Secretary to
exchange lands with the towns indefinitely. Without this
amendment, the park would continue to own isolated small tracts
of land outside the park boundary, and the towns would continue
to own small isolated tracts of land inside the park boundary.
The proposed change would benefit both the park and the towns
by continuing to allow each of them to consolidate land
increase in land acquisition ceiling
Acadia National Park's authorized land acquisition ceiling
of $9.1 million has been reached, although there are over 100
tracts left to be acquired to complete the park as authorized
by Congress in 1986. Land prices on Mount Desert Island, where
Acadia National Park is located, have increased dramatically
since 1986 and may continue to do so if local home-inflation
trends continue. Many willing landowners are anxious to sell,
but the park cannot buy the land because the land acquisition
ceiling does not permit the use of sufficient appropriated
funds to acquire them, thus leaving valuable resources within
the park threatened with incompatible development.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund Act (LWCF) authorizes
the National Park Service to exceed the land acquisition
ceiling by 10%, or $1 million annually, whichever is greater.
Under this authority, Acadia NP may exceed the land acquisition
ceiling by a maximum of $1 million per year. To date, Congress
has appropriated $8.9 million beyond Acadia's land acquisition
ceiling, bringing total appropriations for land acquisition at
the park to $18 million. However, because the LWCF
authorization limits National Park Service annual expenditures
on additional land acquisition to $1 million or less, the
National Park Service has been unable to purchase several
undeveloped tracts that are valued at more than $1 million. If
these undeveloped tracts within the boundaries of the park are
developed with new structures, acquisition costs will increase.
Acquiring these lands sooner rather than later is more cost-
effective for the National Park Service in the long run. In
addition, the park currently faces encroachment issues, where
private landowners use adjacent park lands for swing sets, hot
tubs, sheds and the like. The proposed $28 million ceiling
would allow the National Park Service to acquire all parcels of
land that are located within the boundary of the park that are
currently available for sale.
Incompatible development within park boundaries can degrade
the natural and cultural values that are important to the
visitors of Acadia National Park. There are also ``spillover''
impacts from use of private lands that are surrounded by park
land including noise and light impacts, which tend to drive the
public away from these parts of the park. Finally, larger
blocks of land are more cost-effective to manage than smaller
discontinuous parcels that are owned by multiple owners and
thus, result in higher boundary monitoring and patrol costs.
intermodal transportation center
The intermodal transportation center is the final piece of
a three-phase transportation strategy that was developed with
the assistance of an interagency team of transportation and
park managers. The interagency team was established pursuant to
the 1997 Memorandum of Understanding between the Secretary of
Transportation and the Secretary of the Interior to
comprehensively address public transportation in and around our
national parks. Language in S. 1329 authorizing Acadia National
Park to participate in the planning, construction and operation
of an intermodal transportation center outside park boundaries
is essential for completion of a highly successful
transportation system that operates through a consortium of
twenty partners. These partners include the U.S. Department of
Transportation, the Maine Department of Transportation, and
many local interests who developed this transportation strategy
and have combined their resources to offer the Island Explorer,
a bus system that uses clean propane-powered vehicles to move
visitors around the Island. The operational costs are paid for
by a special transportation fee imposed at Acadia, state and
local funds, and business contributions.
Daily summer use of the Island Explorer has averaged 3,700
riders and more than 1.5 million riders have used the popular
system since it began in 1999. Traffic congestion on Mount
Desert Island and the negative impacts of too many vehicles in
Acadia National Park have been reduced, and the park's air
quality has improved annually.
Currently, overnight visitors are picked up at their
lodgings by the Island Explorer, but the increasing numbers of
day use visitors do not have access to the transit system
because it lacks a central parking and bus boarding area. As
planned, the project calls for developing an off-island
intermodal transportation center to serve day users of Mount
Desert Island and Acadia National Park. The center is needed to
maximize the benefits of the transit system and to fully
achieve the project's goals of reducing traffic congestion,
preserving park resources and the visitor experience, and
ensuring a vibrant tourist economy.
The proposed center would be strategically located on Route
3 (the only road to Mount Desert Island and Acadia National
Park) in Trenton, Maine. A non-profit partner will acquire the
land using donated funds. The Maine Department of
Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration will have
the lead in the planning and construction of the center, which
will include parking for day users, a visitor orientation
facility highlighting park and regional points of interest, a
bus boarding area, and a bus maintenance garage.
Most of the proposed facility would be built with funds
provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation to the State
of Maine. The National Park Service would be responsible for
the design, construction, and operation of all or part of the
visitor orientation portion of the center, which would include
exhibits, media presentations, and general information for park
visitors bound for Acadia National Park. The National Park
Service might also contribute to maintenance and operation of
the facility. The proposed center would replace the park's
inadequate Thompson Island Information Center, which is too
small to accommodate the large number of summer visitors to the
park, contains out-of-date exhibits, and is not optimally
located to intercept visitors.
We recommend two technical amendments be made to section 5
of the bill. First, we would like to clarify that the Secretary
would be authorized to conduct activities that facilitate the
dissemination of information relating to the Island Explorer or
any successor to the Island Explorer in case the transit system
is renamed. Second, in order to preserve the Secretary's
flexibility in how resources are allocated in the National Park
Service, we recommend an amendment to the authority provided to
the Secretary to contribute to the Intermodal Transportation
Center. The amendments are attached to this testimony.
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to comment.
This concludes my prepared remarks and I will be happy to
answer any questions you or other committee members might have.
technical amendments to s. 1329, the acadia national park improvement
act of 2007
On p. 2, line 24, strike ``shall'' and insert ``may''.
On p. 3, line 16, strike ``system;'' and insert ``system or
any successor transit system;''.
The testimony provided by the National Park Service at the
September 11, 2007 Subcommittee hearing on S. 1329.
Changes in Existing Law
In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the
Standing Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by
the bill S. 1329 as ordered reported, are shown as follows
(existing law proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black
brackets, new matter is printed in italic, existing law in
which no change is proposed is shown in roman):
Public Law 99-420
A BILL To establish a permanent boundary for the Acadia National Park
in the State of Maine, and for other purposes
* * * * * * *
SEC. 102. LANDS WITHIN BOUNDARIES.
* * * * * * *
(d)(1) In exercising his authority to acquire lands by
exchange pursuant to this title [this note], the Secretary may
accept title to non-Federal property located within the
boundary of the Park and may convey to the grantor of such
property any federally owned property under the jurisdiction of
the Secretary which lies outside said boundary and depicted on
the map. Properties so exchanged shall be approximately equal
in value, as determined by the Secretary, except that the
Secretary may accept cash from or pay cash to the grantor in
such an exchange in order to equalize the value of the
[(2) Federally owned property under jurisdiction of the
Secretary referred to in paragraph (1) of this subsection which
is not exchanged within 10 years after enactment of this Act,
shall be conveyed to the towns in which the property is located
without encumbrance and without monetary consideration, except
that no town shall be eligible to receive such lands unless,
within 10 years after enactment of this Act, lands within the
Park boundary and owned by the town have been acquired by the
(2) Federally-owned property under jurisdiction of the
Secretary referred to in paragraph (1) of this subsection shall
be conveyed to the towns in which the property is located
without encumbrance and without monetary consideration, except
that no town shall be eligible to receive such lands unless
lands within the Park boundary and owned by the town have been
conveyed to the Secretary.
* * * * * * *
SEC. 103. ADVISORY COMMISSION.
* * * * * * *
(f) The Commission established under this section shall
terminate  40 years after the enactment of this Act.
* * * * * * *
SEC. 106. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.
(a) Effective October 1, 1986, there are authorized to be
appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out the
provisions of this title [this note], but not to exceed
[$9,100,000] $28,000,000 for acquisition of lands and interests
* * * * * * *
SEC. 108. INTERMODAL TRANSPORTATION CENTER.
(a) In General.--The Secretary shall provide assistance in
the planning, construction, and operation of an intermodal
transportation center located outside of the boundary of the
Park in the town of Trenton, Maine to improve the management,
interpretation, and visitor enjoyment of the Park.
(b) Agreements.--To carry out subsection (a), in
administering the intermodal transportation center, the
Secretary may enter into interagency agreements with other
Federal agencies, and cooperative agreements, under appropriate
terms and conditions, with State and local agencies, and
(1) to provide exhibits, interpretive services
(including employing individuals to provide such
services), and technical assistance;
(2) to conduct activities that facilitate the
dissemination of information relating to the Park and
the Island Explorer transit system;
(3) to provide financial assistance for the
construction of the intermodal transportation center in
exchange for space in the center that is sufficient to
interpret the Park; and
(4) to assist with the operation and maintenance of
the intermodal transportation center.
(c) Authorization of Appropriations.--
(1) In general.--There are authorized to be
appropriated to the Secretary such sums as are
necessary to carry out this section (including
planning, design and construction of the intermodal
(2) Operations and maintenance.--There are authorized
to be appropriated such sums as are necessary to
maintain and operate the intermodal transportation